June 20, 2007

Basura Bags Made from Recycled Juice Packs

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So your kid has a Mimi the Sardine Lunchbug lunchbag. What about something for you?

Allow me to recommend a Basura Bag tote bag. Made from recycled juice packs by a women's cooperative in the Phillipines, each bag is unique. According to the write-up on ReusableBags.com, the women's coop purchases the containers "through a network of local school children."

Indestructible and non-biodegradable by nature, foil juice packs clog landfills, fields and streets throughout the Philippines. Using clever designs that combine the material's strength & brilliant colors, the co-op helps keep the environment clean via this very cool method of recycling.

Buy Basura Bags.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

June 11, 2007

BioBags: Bio-degradeable, Compostable Garbage Bags

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"Have you blogged about BioBags yet?" Jane asked the other day from her kitchen. She came out with the box. "They're fantastic. You NEED to write about them."

BioBags are 100% bio-degradable, 100% compostable garbage bags. Made from cornstarch, they help to eliminate regular plastic bags from landfills, rivers, and forests. When disposed, BioBags will biodegrade as naturally as food scraps, leaving no harmful residue.

BioBags trash bags are GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) free and polyethlyene-free, with no polyethylene used in their production process. They're certified for use in organic agriculture, yet are shelf stable just like paper towels. And, importantly for those of us considering using them in our trashcans, they won't begin the composting process until the proper conditions are met - moisture, warmth and micro-organisms.

Plus, Jane loves them. Which is good enough for us.

Buy BioBags 13-Gallon Kitchen Bags.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

April 11, 2007

EZ Bag Compact Grocery Bags

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Tired of the paper or plastic dilemma? Get yourself an EZ Bag.

We were at a dinner party at Julie and Patrick's house on Friday. Another couple at the party regaled us with their plans for a green wedding this fall in Colorado. Among the items on their must-have list? Recycled paper invitations, a LEED-certified location, and EZ Bags for everyone.

Wait a minute, you say. What are EZ Bags? I'm glad you asked.

ArrowContinue reading: "EZ Bag Compact Grocery Bags"

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

April 4, 2007

Kitchen Compost Pails

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If you're thinking about composting, you should also consider a kitchen compost pail so you can keep kitchen scraps for your compost pile. Here, the key is finding one that will fit on your countertop or underneath, store your scraps, and not smell up your kitchen.

I like this stainless steel compost pail from Nor Pro. It's small and sturdy, and traps odors with a small charcoal filter disk that fits in the lid. Moreover, it's easy to clean and won't chip as you transport it out to your compost pile or clean it in the sink.

I don't think I'd fill it the way they have in this picture, though. When you squish the top down, you're headed for some yuck.

Buy a Nor Pro Stainless Steel Compost Pail.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 19, 2007

Make Magazine

Make-magazine.jpgLike Ready Made? Are you less artsy, more crafty? Got a serious Skunkworks operation in your basement? Is your role model more MacGyver than Martha Stewart? Then you may want to check out Make.

Here's what Amazon reviewer wiredweird had to say about it:

This quarterly magazine really hits the spot, if you're in its crosshairs. It's a clean miss for others.

It's pretty easy to tell whether you're in the target audience. Do you have a closet full of decommisioned PCs, cell phones, and other 21st-century rubble that you just know you could do "something" with? Do you have a Dremel tool, fine-tipped soldering iron, and more than one kind of epoxy in the house? Do the phrases "It works" and "It's beautiful" mean roughly the same thing to you? Does the idea of a home CNC milling machine stir you to jealousy or a quick look at your checkbook? Two or more yes answers probably qualify you as the intended reader.

This is about hacking your PC mouse or the cage for your pet mouse, about resurrecting last year's laptop as an electronic photo frame, and about how simple a robot control can be (you'd be surprised). It's like Popular Mechanics, but for the people who consider software, resistors, and pieces from antique clocks to be interchangeable. Although a few of the ideas in each issue have low-tech appeal, most are aimed at skill sets from "geeky highschooler" to "electronics professional".

Make is published by O'Reilly, famous for its nerd-worthy "animal books" for software developers. If you don't know what I'm talking about, well, you're probably not a software developer.

Subscribe at Make.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 11, 2007

Fire Starter: Eco-friendly, Renewable Firewood

20031110.jpgGot to love the Dirt Works newsletter. Last fall, it featured a story on how to renovate your lawn. (Rototiller, anyone?) This winter, it's all about eco-friendly, fuel-efficient firewood.

They explain:


Heating our homes these days has become very expensive and those of us who burn wood have probably noticed the price of firewood going up right along with price of oil and gas. Not only that, as more people turn to wood as a home grown renewable source of heat the air pollution levels in our villages and urban areas has increased as a result. In response, we are introducing a firewood product that makes very little smoke and green house gases, little ash and you almost never need to clean the chimney.

This new firewood contains 30% more heat per pound than regular cord wood too and takes up a lot less space. One pallet is equal to about 2 cords of standard cord wood and fits nicely into the corner of you garage or driveway. Even if you don't burn wood full time, you can find uses for this wood product. When purchased in individual packaging it can be used for nearly smokeless barbecues, camp outs, tailgate parties and the like while providing all the benefits of firewood. It's clean, efficient and renewable.

Eco-wood-single.pngThe sawdust logs, from True Fuel are made using heat compression from 100% recycled hard wood fiber from sawmill residue, so no new trees are cut down to make them. Feel good about saving the forest while you're feeling warm and cozy.

Available by the pallet or the pound at Dirt Works.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 4, 2007

Do It Yourself: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt

generationt.jpg We spent the weekend between Christmas and New Year's doing the winter version of spring cleaning -- out with the old, in with the new. Well, actually, it was more "out with the old (to Goodwill, of course), and in with a little extra space in the house."

One of the challenges I always face when I hit my closet is what to do with all the t-shirts I manage to accumulate. I've got several old favorites which for whatever reason -- too baggy, wrong neckline, no-longer-fashionable sleeves -- end up sitting on the shelf instead of getting worn. I haven't worn them all year, but I can't bring myself to get rid of them.

Which is why I was delighted to come across a copy of Megan Nicolay's Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt. Nicolay is a crafty do-it-yourselfer who offers, yep, 108 different things you can do with your old t-shirts -- from basic no-sewing-required ideas to crazy high-degree-of-difficulty projects like the "teeny bikini." Patchwork blankets, iPod cozies, handbags -- the sky's the limit as long as you've got scissors, a needle and thread, and the gumption to put yourself in Nicolay's crafty little hands and give it a go.

Available at Amazon.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 1, 2006

Staple-Free Stapler from Made By Humans

staple-free stapler.jpgHere's a tip from the Self-Sufficient-ish boys: Lose your stapler.

Remember back in college when all the Environmental Science eco-hippy kids tried to convince you that using staples was bad for the planet? (No? Hmm...maybe I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.) Well, they had a point.

According to Eco-Logic, if every office worker in the world used one less staple per day, we'd conserve more than 120,000 tons of steel per year. For comparison, the construction of the Staples Center in downtown LA used 2,500 tons.

Do your part with this handy-dandy staple-less stapler from Made By Humans. It "staples" 4-5 sheets of paper by punching wholes through the sheets and weaving them together. And it comes in five fashion colors: red, black, blue, green and chrome. Enjoy staple-free living, at least for your memos and short stacks. Lord it over your co-worker the next time he bugs you about forgetting to print double-sided.

Available from Made by Humans.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

November 29, 2006

Bottle Caps: Fleece Hats Made from Recycled Soda Bottles

It's the end of November. Are your ears cold yet? Well, warm 'em up with one of Cagoule Fleece's bottle caps. Made from 87% post-consumer recycled fibers obtained from plastic soda bottles, the hats come in a wide variety of colors and styles. According to the Cagoule website, there are 2 one-liter bottles in every hat.

Available at Cagoule Fleece.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

October 20, 2006

Tree-Cycle Seatbelt Bags Debut at OsCene

Heading to the O.C. next weekend? Be sure to check out the Laguna Art Museum's OsCene 2006. The event, which has its opening party next Thursday night (10/28), will spotlight original artwork from 45 Orange County-based artists, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, multi-media installations, video/film, fashion, and "kustom kulture." Among the art being unveiled: designer Dana Harvey's "Tree-Cycle", an installation that illustrates the design process he embarked on to create "tree-cycle" bags, a collection of handbags made out of recycled seatbelts from cars sent to the scrap heap.

Scott from Harvey's Boutique sent over some early pictures of the tree-cycle bags, and they look amazing. Hats off to Harvey for finding a way to make such a snappy looking handbag out of recycled materials, and then taking the time to show other people how to do it.

Exhibit runs October 29th through January 21 at Laguna Art Museum. Really Natural readers are invited to the opening party on Thursday, October 28th from 7-10 p.m.

Tree-Cycle Seatbelt Bags available at the museum and at Harveys once the show opens.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

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